You’ll find this porcupine-warming tale on many inspirational websites, and it has been widely shared on Twitter. It’s essentially a reformulation of Schopenhauer’s “Hedgehogs’ Dilemma”, which poses the question: how can we manage to live together and function as a family unit, a social unit or society, when we inadvertently hurt each other?
Fable of the Porcupine
It was the coldest winter ever – many animals died because of the cold.
The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together.
This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions even though they gave off heat to each other.
After awhile they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen.
So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth.
Wisely, they decided to go back to being together.
This way they learned to live with the little wounds that were caused by the close relationship with their companion, but the most important part of it, was the heat that came from the others.
This way they were able to survive.